PHILIPPINES President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has asked his fellow Asia-Pacific leaders to pay close attention to challenges confronting the shipping and logistics services sector in the region, reports the Manila Times.
Recognising its role as "the backbone of global trade and investment," President Marcos made the call during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' talks in Bangkok.
"Shipping and logistics services are the backbone of global trade and investment and yet, we have not paid them ample attention," he told the APEC members.
Citing the Philippines' case, the President said businesses in the country absorb up to 30 per cent of costs from logistics alone, having "one of the highest rates in the region."
"With logistics being a pivotal part of supply chains, this limits the integration of our products in global value chains and cuts our access to critical raw materials," he said.
President Marcos called on governments to "eliminate all forms of discrimination," especially for products coming from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
He noted that there are ways to address non-trade and other related measures without depriving businesses and MSMEs of access and participation in supply chains.
Closer cooperation with businesses, especially MSMEs, would help improve their capacity and foster a "competitive environment," he said.
"We look to this forum as a platform to share best practices," he said. "By ensuring that our MSMEs participate in global supply chains, we will have diversified our supply sources, we will have enhanced sustainable and inclusive growth, and strengthened the competitiveness of our economies."
He also highlighted the essential role of seafarers, the maritime industry and the transport sector in ensuring robust and resilient global supply chains and post-pandemic recovery.
The President said that further discussions and cooperation are needed in these areas and called on his counterparts to capacitate every member economy to address the challenges and needs of the sector and essential workers.
Meanwhile, he asked his foreign counterparts to create a "free, fair, and inclusive" trade and investment environment in the region, as he acknowledged the 21-member bloc's vital role in fostering a "stable and predictable environment for progress and prosperity, anchored on peace and collaboration."
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